LDWF News Release

LDWF to Construct New Oyster Reef in Calcasieu Lake

Release Date: 11/21/2017

Nov. 21, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will construct a new oyster reef in Calcasieu Lake soon for the purposes of increasing oyster habitat and fisheries production. The construction process, known as cultch planting, is a proven habitat improvement technique in use by LDWF since 1917.
The project will consist of spreading approximately 12,500 cubic yards of crushed limestone on the lake bottom to create approximately 100 acres of artificial oyster reef near Long Point on the east side of Calcasieu Lake. Project construction is tentatively set to begin construction Nov. 27 and should be completed in approximately two weeks. 
The contractor, Quality First Marine, will utilize high-pressure water cannons to spray the cultch material (crushed limestone) off the barges and into the water. Boaters should use caution while the operations are underway to avoid potentially dangerous flying cultch material. Light-loaded barges will ferry the material from a staging area in the Calcasieu ship channel near 9-mile cut to the project site to avoid excessive disturbance to the lake bottom while in transit.
The cultch planting method involves spreading clean cultch materials on the bottom of the lake as a base for small oyster larvae to settle.  Oyster cultch can include any hard, clean material, but LDWF traditionally uses old oyster shells, crushed concrete, or crushed limestone.  Cultch plants have been successfully utilized to establish or enhance oyster reefs state-wide, including Calcasieu Lake, as well as for mitigation for damages incurred to the Calcasieu Lake public oyster area. 
LDWF has overseen the construction of several cultch plants within the area.  The earliest documented artificial reefs constructed in Calcasieu Lake go back to 1963 and 1969.  Respectively, these artificial reefs were 59 and 24 acres in size; oyster shell was the material used in the creation of the 1963 reef, while clam shell was used to construct the 1969 reef near Commissary Point. 
Since 2007, there have been several small cultch plants constructed in Calcasieu Lake.  The most recent cultch plants constructed consisted of three reefs in 2015.  Two of the three 2015 cultch plants constructed in Calcasieu Lake were designed to serve as commercially harvestable reefs, while one was constructed outside of the harvest area. 
One reef was constructed in West Cove and was the largest of the three reefs (25 acres).  Another reef was constructed in the southern end of the east side of Calcasieu Lake and was 20 acres in size.  The artificial reef located just north of the harvest area totaled 18 acres.  All three reefs were constructed using crushed limestone.
Other efforts utilized by LDWF to enhance oyster populations in the lake have consisted of deploying hatchery reared oysters (over 788 million larvae from 2012 through 2015 and over 34 million oyster spat in 2013), increasing the amount of biological sampling of the resource, reducing daily sack limits, reducing season lengths as well as total closures of some areas to harvest.  Additionally, the Louisiana Legislature recently restricted the method of harvest to hand tongs only.  


Woodworth, Bodcau Shooting Ranges to be Closed on Nov. 23-24; Sherburne WMA Range Hours to be Altered on Nov. 24-25, Dec. 2-3

Release Date: 11/20/2017

Nov. 20, 2017 – The Woodworth shooting range will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday (Nov. 23-24) and the Bodcau shooting range Friday (Nov. 24) in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced. Both ranges will be open Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 25-26) with normal hours.
The Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) shooting range will be open only from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 2-3.
The Woodworth shooting range is located at 661 Robinson Bridge Road in Woodworth. For more information on the Woodworth shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/shooting-range/woodworth-shooting-range or call 318-484-2212.
The Bodcau shooting range is located at 168 Ben Durden Road in Benton. For more information on the Bodcau shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/bodcau-wma or call 318-326-3225.
The Sherburne WMA shooting range is located at 1132 Sherburne Road in Lottie. For more information on the Sherburne shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/shooting-range/sherburne-shooting-range or call 337-566-2251.
Information on all LDWF shooting ranges can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges .


Portions of Waterways Used to Access Pearl River WMA to be Included in U.S. Navy Danger Zone Beginning Nov. 23

Release Date: 11/20/2017

Portions of Waterways Used to Access Pearl River WMA to be Included in U.S. Navy Danger Zone Beginning Nov. 23

Nov. 20, 2017 – A portion of Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) waterways will be subject to periodic closures beginning Thursday (Nov. 23) due to U.S. Navy training exercise that will be conducted in the area, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced. These intermittent closures will be in effect until further notice.
The established danger zone is in the northeast portion of the WMA. It is along the East Pearl River south (latitude 30.4030° N., longitude -89.6815° W.) to a point below the confluence of Mike’s River (latitude 30.3561° N., longitude -89.6514° W) within the acoustic buffer area of the John C. Stennis Space Center, and to adjacent lands, in Hancock County, Miss.
The training may occur any day or night of the week. Prior to closure Navy picket boats will patrol the area that will be off limits. Once the danger zone area has been cleared the boats will remain in position until it is safe to reopen the area to public access.
For more information, go to
http://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory.aspx  .
Pearl River WMA, made up of 35,619 acres in St. Tammany Parish, is located about six miles east of Slidell and about one mile east of the town of Pearl River on the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
For more information, contact Jill Day at jday@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4777.


New Conservation Partnership Launches in Louisiana with the Release of 12 Endangered Whooping Cranes into the Wild

Release Date: 11/14/2017

Newly arrived whooping cranes at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
Whooping cranes are examined by LDWF personnel upon their arrival at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.

(Grand Chenier, La.) – A group of 12 juvenile whooping cranes were released into the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday (Nov. 14) in Grand Chenier as part of an ongoing effort to protect the species from extinction. The juvenile cranes join 49 other whooping cranes that are a part of an experimental population being monitored by LDWF.
Supported by generous donors like Chevron, LDWF and Audubon Nature Institute have been longtime leaders in whooping crane conservation and recently expanded their partnership with the goal of developing a self-sustaining population of whooping cranes in Louisiana.  This partnership is an example of state agencies, non-profit organizations and private industry collaborating to leverage their strengths to achieve measurable conservation results and make a significant, historic impact on the future of this endangered species.
Of the 12 cranes, seven were reared at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, two were raised at Calgary Zoo in Canada and three were hatched from eggs collected from the wild in Wisconsin and reared at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans. All 12 cranes were brought to the Species Survival Center where they formed a “cohort,” the scientific term for a small group of cranes assembled to live and migrate together.
“The goal of a cohort is to socialize the animals together so they will thrive as a group in the wild. The young chicks are released without parents so the cohort will create a family for the birds to increase their chances of survival,” said Richard Dunn, Assistant Curator at the Species Survival Center.
These 12 cranes joined 11 juvenile whooping cranes from the International Crane Foundation which were released on November 9 on the nearby White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA).  The addition of these 23 cranes increases the flock to 72 whooping cranes living in the wild in Louisiana. Support of partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, International Crane Foundation, and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation have allowed LDWF and Audubon to expand their efforts in Louisiana.
Since 2011, Chevron has invested in LDWF’s Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project. In addition to continuing its contributions to LDWF, the company also awarded Audubon a grant to help fund improvements to the Species Survival Center’s whooping crane breeding pens. Chevron not only contributed financially to the initiative; their employees have also given volunteer hours to help construct the enhanced whooping crane enclosures.  
“At Chevron, we recognize the importance of protecting ecological diversity – the rich variety of wildlife on Earth, its ecosystems and species, and the ecological processes that support them,” said Leah Brown, Public Affairs Manager for Chevron's Gulf of Mexico Business Unit. “We’re proud to continue our long-standing collaboration with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Audubon Nature Institute on whooping crane restoration and repopulation.  Through awareness programs, educational efforts and volunteerism, we’re working to make ensure this endangered species is thriving for generations to come.”     
The Louisiana flock was developed in 2011 when 10 whooping cranes from the U. S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Facility in Maryland were released to WLWCA in Vermilion Parish to develop the non-migratory flock. This marked a significant conservation milestone with the first wild whooping cranes in Louisiana since 1950. In 2016, the first chick hatched in the wild in Louisiana since 1939—a significant sign of recovery for the species.
“We continue on the path to establishing a self-sustained whooping crane population in Louisiana so this magnificent bird can thrive for generations to come,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “We’ve made so many advances in our whooping crane program, including the first wild-hatched whooping crane in Louisiana in 2016. The arrival of this cohort is another important step in the restoration process. We are blessed to have many partners, including private landowners who have assisted us by working with our staff when the cranes roost on their property. We thank them for their help.’’
In early 2017, Audubon was asked to significantly increase the number of crane chicks raised at the rearing facility to supplement the migratory populations and the non-migratory whooping crane population in Louisiana. As one of only three whooping crane breeding facilities in the US, support of project partners is vital to the long-term success of the whooping crane population in Louisiana.
“The whooping crane is one of the species included in Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program, which focuses the collective expertise within accredited zoos and aquariums and leverages their massive audiences to save species,” said Kyle Burks, Vice President & Managing of Audubon Zoo.  “With continued support, we can leverage the expansion of the crane breeding program into long-term growth of the population and share what we learn with other whooping crane programs.”
Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and to report the sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form). Whooping cranes are large-bodied, white birds with a red head and black facial markings along. Birds measure a height of five feet and a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet that makes them very distinctive. In flight, whooping cranes display black wing tips, a fully extended neck, and legs which extend well beyond the tail.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to call the LDWF’s Enforcement Division at 1-800-442-2511 or use the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.  
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup
Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.


Commercial Fishery For Gray Triggerfish In Louisiana Waters To Close

Release Date: 11/14/2017

The commercial fishery for gray triggerfish in Louisiana waters will close at 12:01 a.m. on November 18, 2017 and will remain closed until January 1, 2018.
The decision was made by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet, following notification by NOAA Fisheries that the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico will close for the commercial harvest of gray triggerfish from 12:01 a.m. November 18, 2017 until 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2018, and per a request from NOAA Fisheries.
Regulations for the gray triggerfish fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico include a commercial quota. Based on current commercial gray triggerfish landings, the 2017 commercial quota of 60,900 pounds is projected to be harvested by November 18, 2017.
After the closure, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, barter, trade, sale or attempts to purchase, barter, trade or sell gray triggerfish is prohibited until 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2018, the date set for the opening of the 2018 season. The prohibition on sale/purchase of gray triggerfish during the closure does not apply to those that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor provided appropriate records in accordance with R.S. 56:306.5 and 56:306.6 are properly maintained.
For more information contact Jason Adriance at 504/284-2032 (jadriance@wlf.la.gov)

DOTD Continues Drawdown on Vernon Lake for Repair Work

Release Date: 11/14/2017

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced the water level of Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish has reached the desired depth to assess damage that occurred during Hurricane Harvey. The drawdown was necessary to evaluate the condition of the dam.
The lake will be maintained at or near its current level until a full assessment of the damage is complete, designs are developed for the repairs, and the repairs are finalized.
The management gate will be operated to maintain the existing lake level; however, water levels will fluctuate during this period due to rainfall and the gate’s limited capacity to remove runoff. The dam remains stable at this time.
The timeframe for project completion and for the lake to return to pool stage is contingent on the results of the assessment. Updates will be provided throughout the process.
Anacoco Lake, located downstream of Vernon Lake, is near pool stage, and intentions are to keep the management gate closed and the lake near pool stage during the repair process.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would also like to remind all property owners that any work to the shoreline or lake bottom of a state waterbody requires a permit from either the Division of Administration Office of State Lands or the US Army Corps of Engineers.
For information on permit requirements contact the Lake Charles LDWF office (337) 491-2575, the Office of State Lands (225) 342-4578 or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office (817) 886-1306.
For questions regarding the drawdown, contact Brad Sticker (318) 561-5280 or Jonathan Lachney (318) 561-5103 with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

LDWF Commercial Fishing Licenses To Be Available At Field Offices

Release Date: 11/13/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new and renewals of commercial fishing licenses and motorboat registration from the following locations: 
Bourg Office

November 28-30, 2017
467 Texas Gulf Road
Bourg, LA
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

New Orleans Office
December 5-7, 2017
2021 Lakeshore Drive Suite 210
New Orleans, LA
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lake Charles Office

December 12-14, 2017 
1213 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, La.
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Fishermen are reminded that acceptable forms of payment will include personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders and cash.  No credit cards. To avoid processing delays, those purchasing licenses are asked to bring their license renewal notices with them.  
 First-time applicants can apply by mail or in-person.  Renewals can be completed online at  www.wlf.la.gov . When applying in person you must provide the following: 

·       Resident applicants must provide proof of residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license, (held continuously for 12 months) voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.

·       Non-residents applicants must provide proof of residency from their domiciliary state, such as driver's license, voter's registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.

·       Applicants applying for a license in a business name must provide documentation showing proof of valid federal tax ID# assigned to business name and proof of authorized signature, or an occupational license will be required.

For commercial licenses inquiries, contact (225) 765-2898.


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF, Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association to Hold Free Trapping Workshops Dec. 2, Dec. 9

Release Date: 11/13/2017

Nov. 13, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association will hold free trapping workshops on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. The Dec. 2 workshop will be held at Cypress Black Bayou Recreation Center in Benton and the Dec. 9 workshop at Palmetto State Park near Abbeville.
Workshop topics include state regulations, trapping equipment, trapping safety, best management practices, trap selection and setting and skinning.
Those interested in attending one of the workshops are encouraged to complete the free online trappers’ course by going to https://conservationlearning.org/login/index.php . The online course can be completed at any time.
The two workshops are designed to focus on the hands-on aspects of trapping while the online course provides background on best management practices, trapping equipment, trapping regulations and other topics.
To register for the workshops, please contact Jennifer Hogue at jhogue@wlf.la.gov or call 337-373-0032. Space is limited so register early. 


Bodcau, Woodworth Shooting Ranges to be Closed Friday in Observance of Veterans Day

Release Date: 11/08/2017

Nov. 8, 2017 – The Bodcau and Woodworth shooting ranges will be closed Friday (Nov. 10) in observance of Veterans Day, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced. Both ranges will be open Saturday and Sunday with normal hours.
The Woodworth shooting range is located at 661 Robinson Bridge Road in Woodworth. For more information on the Woodworth shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/shooting-range/woodworth-shooting-range or call 318-484-2212.
The Bodcau shooting range is located at 168 Ben Durden Road in Benton. For more information on the Bodcau shooting range, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/bodcau-wma or call 318-326-3225.
Information on all LDWF shooting ranges can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges .


South Bosco ATV/UTV Trail Opened at Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 11/06/2017

Nov. 6, 2017 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has opened the South Bosco ATV/UTV trail to the public at Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This new trail will provide access to more than 2,700 acres of WMA property referred to as the South Bosco Tract, which was acquired and included in the WMA in 2015.
Russell Sage WMA consists of 38,213 acres and is located in Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and Caldwell parishes. It is situated approximately seven miles east of Monroe and ten miles west of Rayville. The WMA can be accessed via U.S. Highway 80 and 165, Louisiana Highway 15 and Interstate 20. There are 13 self-clearing permit stations located at major entrances to the WMA.
For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2777 or contact Mitch McGee at 318-343-4044 or mmcgee@wlf.la.gov.

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